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BlueGreenLady's Journal
BlueGreenLady's Journal
February 17, 2021

I am repeatedly getting DU mail Thanking me for becoming a Star member

So far, I've gotten about 10 such messages. I am touched at the gratitude from DU, but I'm afraid it is a technical glitch. Anyone else having this?

February 16, 2021

The Climate got Drunk Again and threw us a Snownado

The Climate is Drunk Again by Emily Atkin
"It sounds funny, but not really."

"Alcohol helps me understand science
My preliminary reporting took me to National Geographic’s Scienceblog, where bioanthroplogist Greg Laden had written a post called “Go Home Arctic, You’re Drunk.” It was the first piece to explain the polar vortex in a way my post-college infant brain could easily understand."

"The viral image on Laden’s post for ScienceBlogs. Source: Greg Laden/ECMWF
Laden explained that the “polar vortex” did not describe a one-time weather event, but a constant mass of cold air circulating around the Arctic. That air, he wrote, had simply taken a long and somewhat confusing (i.e., drunk) jaunt down south, leaving the Arctic itself relatively warm.

“We are not seeing an expansion of cold, an ice age, or an anti-global warming phenomenon,” Laden wrote. “We are seeing the usual cold polar air taking an excursion. So, this cold weather we are having does not disprove global warming.”

Then Laden added a sentence I did not expect to read: “In fact, the cold snap we are experiencing in the middle of the U.S. and adjoining Canada may be because of global warming.”

Laden cited research by Jennifer Francis at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Science to prove his point. I had not heard anyone say anything like that before. So I called her next.

“The drunk part is the jet stream”
After confirming Laden’s meteorological explanation of the polar vortex, I started reading Francis’s research, which focuses on how Arctic warming might be affecting weather in the rest of the northern hemisphere. (The Arctic is warming much, much faster than the rest of the planet).

Francis’s peer-reviewed papers showed a fascinating phenomenon: That as the Arctic was getting warmer and warmer, the polar vortex was taking more and more drunken adventures down south.

In a phone conversation, Francis told me the drunk part was actually the jet stream: the currents of wind that flow west to east along the borders of hot and cold air*. “The jet stream is in this wavy pattern, like a drunk walking along,” she said. She said human-caused climate change was weakening the jet stream, causing these massive dips.

“This kind of pattern is going to be more likely, and has been more likely,” she said. “Extremes on both ends are a symptom. Wild, unusual temperatures of both sides, both warmer and colder.”

Profile Information

Name: Dawn
Gender: Female
Hometown: Iowa
Home country: USA
Current location: In the sunroom.
Member since: Fri Oct 15, 2004, 08:28 AM
Number of posts: 2,824

About BlueGreenLady

Illegitimi Non Carborundum!
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